Beach camping is more difficult in northern California than in the south because the weather is colder - and it's harder to find because much of the northern California coast is rocky, with steep cliffs rather than sandy beaches.
Beach Camping Near Santa Cruz
- Seacliff: A beautiful spot along a stretch of sand backed by bluffs.
- Sunset State Beach: California beach camping 16 miles south of Santa Cruz.
Beach Camping North of San Francisco
- Sonoma Coast State Beach: Three campgrounds, accommodating RV's up to 31 feet long. Located between Jenner and Bodega Bay on Highway One.
- Point Reyes National Seashore: Point Reyes offers four hike-in campgrounds and boat-in camping is allowed on national seashore beaches on the west side of Tomales Bay, beginning north of Indian Beach in Tomales Bay State Park. There is no car camping at Point Reyes National Seashore.
- Clam Beach County Park: Near McKinleyville in Humboldt County, this small campground has only 9 tent spaces and 9 RV spaces, with vault toilets and cold running water.
- Gold Bluffs Beach Campground: You can set up your tent between the Pacific Ocean and the redwood forest - and you might might find the local herd of Roosevelt Elk hanging out on the beach with you.
No Free Beach Camping Here
We found one reference online to a free beach campground near Orick in northern California, near the freshwater lagoon. In case you find it, too, we can save you some trouble. After talking to a State Park Ranger, we've confirmed that there are no free beach campgrounds in the Orick area.
More California Beach Camping: Southern California | Ventura County | Santa Barbara | Central Coast